I think I've come to a bit of a crossroads in my life (this happens every now and again). The problem is one of motivation, specifically I'm not sure that I have enough of it anymore.
You see as far as running goes the short stuff doesn't really do it for me anymore, especially given that I run a half marathon in training most weekends and could easily pump out a marathon with only little or no notice. The challenge for me has always been one of completing the event. Winning hasn't really been on the radar so for me, along with the mass of other people who do this kind of thing, its all about the personal challenge - and a big chunk of that has now faded away for me.
So that leaves the long stuff ... trouble is that in going ultra you enter into a whole new level of pain and suffering, and you'd better believe that you need to be highly motivated before ever toeing the line. Which brings me back to the question "do I have the motivation?"
The thing that's really bought this to a head for me today is a niggling injury that I have on the top of my left foot. It feels like a bone or tendon problem. Its doesn't stop me from running but it does cause me a bit of pain if I'm not careful while kicking a ball around with my son. This has made me reflect on the last three years.
In late 2006 I started running in order get some fitness back. I had planned to run a half marathon in May 2007 and maybe try a marathon at some point. Anyway in typical fashion my time frame got accelerated and entered my first race (a 22k offroad run) in March 2007. It was hard but I loved it!
Next thing I knew I'd entered the Rotorua Marathon which was being run the last week of April. I grossly underestimated how tough a marathon would be (or maybe I just overestimated my ability - confused "ambition with ability" as the saying goes). The first half went well but after about 25k's the wheels started to fall off and I blew to pieces ... but I finished it!! The day after my legs hurt to move, I had no energy and I was sore all over - but I was also over the moon and hooked!
Then came my chance to do Ironman and the rest is history (as this blog will attest to).
So in the last two years I've become a marathon runner and over the course of several marathon's have knocked almost an hour off my first marathon time. I've learnt how to swim (in fact this time two years ago I couldn't swim), and have surprise (and delighted) myself by having completed several open water swims including the 3.8k's of Ironman. Not so long ago I would have never thought that would be possible.
I completed my first ever triathlon, being the Rotorua Half Ironman in December 2007, and almost snuck under 6 hours. I probably would have gone sub6 if I'd actually been at the start line on time (yes I missed the start! It's a long story ...), and hadn't spent so long mucking around in transition.
I became an Ironman in 2008 and an Ultrarunner in 2009, by far my toughest and proudest personal achievement ever (excluding the raising of my kids and nurturing of my family, which is an ongoing work).
I've achieved far more than I ever thought I would, in quite a short space of time and on quite a challenging training budget (time wise - no 15 + hour training weeks for me ...). Now I think I'm just a bit tired. I also have a number of other things I want to achieve.
For instance I want to get back to study. I've spent the best part of 10 years getting a couple of degrees, not so much because I enjoyed the topic's, but rather because I thought they were the right thing to do. And do be fair, as a result I have a good and successful career. But now I want to extend myself intellectually in an area which is actually of personal interest to me. I tried starting some study at the start of the year, but in the end had to withdraw as I just couldn't find the time to fit everything in.
So what am I to do? Take a break and do something completely different? Take it easy over winter and then pick some event to target in the summer? Who knows? But I really do feel as though I'm standing at the crossroads, I could go left, or I could go right. Either path would take me to a different place. Maybe things will converge again in the future ...